Colorado Springs family whose son was shot handed over $58,000 helicopter bill


COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s been nearly a year since a shooting at Memorial Park Skatepark left a man and child dead, along with another child fighting for his life.

“It looks like it’s been over a year, based on the frustrations,” Ray Celano said, referring to the fact that no arrests were ever made for the shooting.

Celano lost his 14-year-old son Dominic, his 23-year-old nephew Gage and nearly lost his 12-year-old son, who was shot five times.

Only recently have the Celanos started receiving notices of unpaid bills.

“I started getting these weird text messages that say your bill is due,” Celano said.

That bill turned out to be a $58,379.53 bill from an air ambulance company, CALSTAR, for her 12-year-old child’s 63-mile flight from Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Colorado. Aurora.

The Celanos’ insurance initially covered $7,832.71 of the initial bill of $66,212.24, claiming the helicopter used was off the grid, leaving the Celanos the rest to pay.

“I mean, I lost two family members, and one of them narrowly survived, and then sent us a bill like that? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, we pay so much money for insurance,” says Celano.

When we asked for an interview, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield told us in part:

“Many air ambulance providers choose not to contract with insurers. That’s why Anthem has been a strong advocate for the no-surprises federal law, which went into effect earlier this year.”

Emily Snooks, Director of Public Relations (CO & MO), Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

CALSTAR’s parent company, REACH Air Medical Services, says this is a “myth” and that the company “has grown from 5% in-network to 70% in-network over the past 7 years”.

After News5 contacted the companies, they reached an agreement on the cost of the helicopter ride and the insurance company will pay for it.

The Celanos won’t have to foot the bill out of pocket.

Anthem released a statement saying:

It was a terrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to Mr. Celano and his family. We are glad we were able to help negotiate a reduced fee with this provider and hope that Mr. Celano’s family can continue their healing process.

Emily Snooks, Director of Public Relations (CO & MO), Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

REACH said in part, “We never want patients to worry about whether their insurer will pay a claim. We’ve long advocated getting them out of the middle of these disputes, and we’re pleased with this recent outcome.”
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